It's always a good time to visit London, but as with everything, there are better times than others. In March there are some particularities that make it a unique time to make this trip and enjoy all there is to see and do in the London capital.
Being a month of transition between winter and spring, the weather shows its two faces, the typical cloudy and colder days and the sunny days. However, the weather is not the most important factor when it comes to choosing these dates to visit London. It's the unique events, such as St Patrick's Day and The Head of the River Race on the River Thames.
To find out what are the best things to do and places to visit in London in March just read on.
1.Enjoy St. Patrick's Day
When March 17th arrives, London turns green. St Patrick's Day is one of the most celebrated festivities in the city. To celebrate St Patricks's Day, the city hosts a huge festival with live music, food, activities, a big parade and, as a good Irish party, lots of beer.
The centrepiece of the festival is a huge parade that takes in some of the capital's most iconic landmarks. It starts at around midday on Piccadilly Street and passes by points such as the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus and ends in Trafalgar Square. Thousands of Londoners and tourists flock to the massive parade to watch the eye-catching floats guarded by Irish classical dancers and accompanying bands.
The march ends in Trafalgar Square where most of the activities are concentrated. Many of them are focused on spreading Irish culture, with plenty of beer as a good Irish party. This festival is free and usually starts at 12:00 noon and ends at 18:00 in the evening.
The festival is not only concentrated in Trafalgar Square, but extends to all the London pubs where you can enjoy traditional Irish food and drinks.
2. Come and watch the Head of the River Race
With the arrival of spring and the improvement of the weather in London, the historic Headof the River Race also arrives on the waters of the Thames. On the third or fourth Saturday in March, depending on the tides, this race is held as a prelude to the Oxford-Cambridge race in early April.
The race has been held on the waters of the Thames since 1926 and today some 420 boats take part, most of them English teams and some 50 foreign teams. It covers the same 6.8 kilometres as the Oxford v Cambridge race but changes direction from Mortlake to Putney. Many people come to watch the event, as it is free and offers a good sporting spectacle.
If the weather is good, a trip to the banks of the River Thames to watch the sailors compete is one of the best things to do in London in March.
3. Try a Mother's Day sweet
Unlike Spain, which celebrates Mother 's Day in May, London celebrates Mother's Day in March. This day is known as Mothering Sunday and is celebrated on the last Sunday of the month. If you are travelling with your mother or are a mother yourself, this day has some traditions attached to it and there are many options for celebrating it in the English capital.
A good option to celebrate it with your mum is to taste the typical cake of that day, the Simnel Cake, in the many cafes that prepare it for that particular day. There are countless cafes that serve this typical Mother's Day cake, but here are some of the best known:
- Drury 188-189 in the Covent Garden area.
- Monmouth Coffee Company next to Southwark Cathedral.
- Coffee, Cake & Kisses next to Warren Street tube stop.
- Cakes & Bubbles on Regent's Street near Piccadilly Circus tube stop
The London tradition of Mother's Day dates back to the 17th century. At that time, children from the age of 10 were apprenticed to their mothers and were allowed to visit them with gifts such as flowers and sweets. This is the origin of the Simnel Cake, a typical Mother's Day fruit cake decorated with flowers.
It is also a good time to experience the custom of English teatime in one of London's typical hotels or cafés. Another option is to visit the legendary Harrods department store in the centre of the city and look for a good gift for your mum.
4. Earth Hour in London
The last Saturday of every March is Earth Hour. This event, promoted by the World Wildlife Fund, proposes that cities all over the world turn off the lights of their most emblematic buildings and monuments as a symbol to combat climate change.
London is taking this initiative very seriously and is turning off the lights of its most recognisable symbols. From 20:30 to 21:30 on the last Saturday in March, monuments such as the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square turn off their lights and offer a very curious postcard. It is always interesting and curious to see these symbols in the dark.
5. London from above
As the skies clear in March , it is a good time to enjoy the best views of London from above. The sunsets at this time of year are spectacular and what better way to enjoy them than with the London skyline in the background. There are many options, but two stand out for their views and for being among the most emblematic places in the English capital.
The most famous Ferris wheel in the world, and at 135 metres high, it is also the tallest in Europe. It is the most visited tourist attraction in London with almost 4 million visitors a year and it is thanks to the views from the London Eye. On a clear day the view reaches up to 40 km around the city and its privileged location on the banks of the Thames offers a privileged postcard view of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. A must-see when you travel to London
It is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and in Western Europe at 310 metres high. At its highest point is the highest vantage point in London from which you can see very clearly, if the day is clear, practically the whole city. Its pointed shape has made it a symbol of the capital since its inauguration in 2012.
6. Women's Day in London
International Women's Day is celebrated all over the world on 8 March. Any place and any time is a good time to celebrate this holiday for equality, but in London there is a special atmosphere on this day. In addition to the usual marches that take place in cities, London organises talks, activities, workshops and all kinds of events related to this day.
It is also a day to remember the great British female figures such as Margaret Thatcher, Virginia Woolf and Diana of Wales. Enjoying London from a feminist perspective is always interesting.
7. Stroll through its central parks on clear days
Since the weather in London in March is so changeable, it is a good idea to be prepared with alternatives depending on the weather. If you're lucky, and in March you're more likely to get a clear day, you can take the opportunity to stroll through some of London's best parks.
It's practically a forest in the middle of the city. It has an area of 142 hectares with more than 4000 trees, beautiful meadows and flower gardens that begin to bloom in March. You can go for a walk, take a boat ride on the lakes, rent a bicycle, eat in the lakeside restaurants and much more.
Hyde Park also has several monuments to visit such as Kensington Palace and the famous fountain dedicated to Princess Diana.
In the north of London is another of the city's great parks, Regent's Park. There are two square kilometres of green areas, a lake for boating, well-tended gardens and a wide variety of cafés and restaurants. It's highly recommended if you're travelling with children as Regent's Park is home to London Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world.
St James's Park
The oldest and most famous royal park is surrounded by three palaces, including Buckingham Palace. The Mall, which runs alongside the park, is the site of the Horse Guards Parade and its lake, which is inhabited by pelicans, is a highlight of the park.
8. Visit a park full of deer and with one of the best views in London
If the weather is good, which is more likely in March, you can choose to take a trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. My favourite is Richmond Park. One of the largest urban parks in the world and a perfect place to enjoy nature. It is considered a national nature reserve because of its wildlife, as the park is known for its herds of deer that are easy for visitors to spot.
Although it's on the outskirts of London, being on high ground it offers good views of the city and there are powerful binoculars to enhance the already beautiful views. The best thing is that it's very easy to get to by taking a direct train from Waterloo station and takes just 15 minutes.
9. Celebrate the anniversary of 'Let it Be' at Abbey Road
Did you know that the Beatles' song "Let It Be" was released in March 1970? If you're a fan of the legendary band, you can celebrate the anniversary of one of their iconic songs in London by taking the legendary photo at the Abbey Road crossing.
One of the most repeated photographs in the world and that the members of The Beatles took for the cover of their album with the same name of this well-known London street. The famous zebra crossing is just a short walk from St. John's Wood underground station.
10. Take a stroll around the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
In mid-March, as spring approaches, the flowers and gardens in London's parks look particularly beautiful. This is the case of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is a marvel to walk among its flowers and trees. The end of March is a good time to visit, as the gardens begin to bloom.
Kew Botanic Gardens is located in south-west London between Richmond and Kew, next to the Thames.
11. If it's raining shelter in a museum or theatre
You'd have to be very lucky not to get at least one day of rain on your trip to London. In March, rainfall is lower than in previous months but still frequent. But rain is not an impediment to enjoying the city. London has endless indoor activities to do.
Whether you're into art, history, science or even wax figures, London has a museum for you. Many of them are some of the most important in the world such as the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, The National Gallery or Madame Tussauds wax museum.
All of them, except the wax museum, have the added bonus of free admission for the general public. Is there a better plan for a rainy day?
London is also famous for its West End musicals. An area that concentrates the best musicals in English that you can see such as The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Les Miserables or Moulin Rouge among many others. A great plan for cloudy days also if you go with children.
Weather in London in March
London has a well-earned reputation as a cold city. But it is in March when temperatures start to rise and the sun appears more frequently. It's a month with two sides. On average, the maximum temperatures in March are around 20 degrees Celsius, although they do not usually exceed this maximum. Lows are up compared to winter although they are still cold and hover around 5 degrees Celsius. The passage of the Thames through the city tempers the temperatures quite a bit. As the month progresses the days become warmer and by the end of the month they start to feel like spring.
The most noticeable change is in cloud cover and rainfall. It is well known that London is rainy and sunny days are rare. But in March the trend changes, with less chance of rain and more clear days and more hours of sunshine.
If you're cold, don't forget to pack coats and thicker clothing. But don't forget your short sleeves either. London is special even for the weather and in the same day you can experience all four seasons.
London Sightseeing in March
The peak tourist season in London is between spring and summer mainly because of the weather. The problem is the sheer volume of people visiting the city during these months. March is a transitional month between the cold and the warm weather. Tourists start arriving in greater numbers in the third month of the year but far from the crowds of the summer.
As it is not high season, prices are not so high and it is easier to find good deals. The downside is perhaps the unpredictability of the weather. In March you can experience winter cold and spring temperatures within a few days. So you have to pack your suitcase full of warm clothes and at the same time some spring clothes.
For me, March is a month with a good balance between the amount of people visiting the city and quite bearable temperatures. A good time to visit London.